NCU Catalog - June 2017 (Amended) 
    
    Oct 28, 2021  
NCU Catalog - June 2017 (Amended) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Psychology, General Psychology Specialization, PhD


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Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology


Description of Program


The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program was designed in response to the growing interest in psychology as a discipline of study and the need for advanced studies, including research beyond the master’s level. This degree program emphasizes theory, research, and scholarship, culminating in a dissertation.

Learning Outcomes


  • Appraise theories and principles in psychology to inform professional contexts.
  • Evaluate research methods and data analysis in psychology.
  • Select psychological principles and research for application to personal, social, and organizational issues.
  • Evaluate ethical principles of psychology in academic and professional matters.
  • Critique diversity issues in professional contexts.
  • Design clear and effective communication for fellow professionals and the public.

All PhD students are required to demonstrate competency in these areas:

  • Competency in Research Writing Skills - PhD students are required to complete both PSY-7101  and PSY-7102  at NCU. Students must demonstrate doctoral-level writing skills in all NCU graduate coursework. Students may request on their own behalf or may be recommended to complete an English writing course if the School Dean or faculty determine communications skills are insufficient for doctoral-level work.
  • Graduate-Level Research Methods Competency - PhD students are required to complete PSY7103 PSY7106 PSY7108 , and PSY7109  at NCU.
  • Graduate-Level Statistics Competency - PhD students are required to complete PSY7107  at NCU.
  • Computer Competency - Doctoral students are required to have the computer skills necessary for completing a dissertation. Students must be able to prepare documents using advanced word processing skills (e.g., creation of tables and figures, headers and footers, page breaks, tables of contents, hanging indents). Students must use computer programs for the statistical analysis of data (e.g., SPSS). Students must produce a computer-based presentation (e.g., PowerPoint) for their dissertation defense.

Basis for Admissions


In order to enter the Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology, applicants must have a conferred master’s degree from an regionally or nationally accredited academic institution. There are two options for entering the doctoral program in psychology:

  1. Direct Entry – Individuals with a previously completed master’s degree in any area of Psychology, Mental Health Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy, or Social Work may immediately begin the 60 credit PhD program.
  2. Evaluation Track – Individuals who have previously completed a master’s degree in an area other than one listed above must have their transcripts evaluated to determine if previous coursework meets some or all of the Standard Curriculum requirements. Students in the Evaluation Track will begin their degree plan with PSY -7101  and PSY -7102 . They will then be required to complete the Standard Curriculum courses prior to taking the remaining courses in their degree plan.

Standard Curriculum - Up to 12 credit hours determined based on formal evaluation. These courses are in addition to the 60 credits listed below.

Degree Requirements


The PhD in Psychology degree requires a minimum of 60 credit hours at the graduate level beyond the master’s degree.

The University may accept a maximum of 12 semester credit hours in transfer toward the doctoral degree for graduate coursework completed at an accredited college or university while enrolled in a doctoral program with a grade of “B” or better.

The PhD degree programs in psychology have the following graduation requirements:

  • A minimum of 48 credit hours of graduate instruction must be completed through NCU.
  • Grade Point Average of 3.0 (letter grade of “B”) or higher.
  • Satisfactory completion of a Comprehensive Exam.
  • University approval of dissertation manuscript and successful completion of the dissertation defense.
  • Submission of the approved final dissertation manuscript to the University Registrar, including the original unbound dissertation manuscript and an electronic copy.
  • Official documents on file for basis of admission: a conferred master’s degree from an accredited academic institution.
  • Official transcripts on file for all transfer credit hours accepted by the University.
  • All financial obligations to the University paid in full.

Time to Completion


NCU allows seven years to complete doctoral programs of 60 credits or less.

Students who are unable to complete a degree program within the stated time limit are dismissed. Students who believe they have extenuating circumstances may document the circumstances in a request for special consideration to their respective School Dean or designee. Exceptions to this policy are determined on a case-by-case basis and are granted only once.

Normal time to completion for this program is 84 months.

Time to completion varies depending upon the pace in which a student completes courses and the number of transfer credits accepted. As most NCU students are working adults balancing educational, professional, and personal commitments, our academic advisors will work with you to develop a program schedule that works best for your needs.

The normal time disclosed above reflects the experience of students who may have entered under different program requirements. In the quest for continuous improvement, academic leadership has revised the program to optimize curriculum and pace, facilitate student learning, and improve chances for success. Therefore, the program is now designed for students enrolling today to take advantage of these revised course structures, lengths, and schedules. New students following the preferred schedule designed by the Dean for this program, and applying no transfer credits, can expect to finish in as little as 48 months.

Dissertation Process


Faculty assists each NCU Doctoral student to reach this high goal through a systematic process leading to a high-quality completed dissertation. A PhD dissertation is a scholarly documentation of research that makes an original contribution to the field of study. This process requires care in choosing a topic, documenting its importance, planning the methodology, and conducting the research. These activities lead smoothly into the writing and oral presentation of the dissertation.

A doctoral candidate must be continuously enrolled throughout the series of dissertation courses. Dissertation courses are automatically scheduled and accepted without a break in scheduling to ensure that students remain in continuous enrollment throughout the dissertation course sequence. If additional time is required to complete any of the dissertation courses, students must re-enroll and pay the tuition for that course. Continuous enrollment will only be permitted when students demonstrate progress toward completing dissertation requirements. The Dissertation Committee determines progress.

Course Sequence


The PhD program may be completed in 60 credits (not including required Standard Curriculum courses) but may require additional credit hours, depending on the time required to complete the dissertation research. If granted, additional courses will be added to the student degree program in alignment with the SAP and Academic Maximum Time to Completion policies.  Students who do not complete their program in accordance with these policies may be dismissed.

General Psychology


The General Psychology specialization allows students to select courses from a broad range of electives to fit their personal and professional goals. This specialization also prepares students to apply principles of psychology and conduct research related to their area of interest in a variety of settings.

*Courses listed are examples and upon acceptance to the program the initial degree plan will include these courses. Students in the General Psychology specialization are encouraged to choose six courses (18 credit hours) based on personal and professional goals and will work with their Academic Advisor to revise their degree plan. Students can select any PSY8000 level course for this specialization. Courses from other disciplines may fill this requirement, with Department of Psychology approval. Please consult the course descriptions for a full list of available courses. Note: an internship course cannot count towards the degree program. 

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